Weekend Preview: Ward-Green showdown
SHERZOD HUSANOV vs. JHON BERRIO
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Airway Heights, Wash.
The backdrop: Husanov (14-0-1, 7 KOs) was a good amateur from Uzbekistan who now lives and fights out of Russia. The 30-year-old defeated then-unbeaten Timur Nergadze by a unanimous decision in his last fight, avenging a draw in their previous meeting. Husanov has fought only once (in Portugal) outside Uzbekistan or Russia. Berrio (15-6, 11 KOs) is a journeyman who has fought primarily in his native Colombia. He has a modest two-fight winning streak after going 2-6 in his previous eight fights.
Also fighting: Maxim Vlasov vs. Jerson Ravelo, 10 rounds, super middleweights
Rating the card: C-. Husanov apparently is a decent prospect. Berrio is just an opponent.
LUIS RAMOS vs. JOSHUA ALLOTEY
Rounds / weight class: 8 rounds / junior welterweights
Location: McAllen, Texas
The backdrop: Ramos (15-0, 8 KOs) has graduated from Fight Night Club cards to a main event on a televised card. The soft-spoken Southern California product is a good boxer who isn’t afraid of action, although he probably takes too many shots for his own good. He’s still developing. Allotey (16-9, 14 KOs) has become a designated opponent for rising young fighters. The Ghanian was KO’d his last three fights, all against undefeated prospects.
Also fighting: Omar Figuera vs. Julian Rodriguez, 6 rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card: C. Ramos is fun to watch. And Allotey seems to be vulnerable. Don’t look away.
OMAR SHEIKA vs. JIM STROHL
Rounds / weight class: 8 rounds / light heavyweights
Location: Hamilton Township, N.J.
The backdrop: Sheika (29-9, 20 KOs) wants to fight regularly in another attempt to regain his long-ago status as a legitimate contender. The 33-year-old from New Jersey lost consecutive title fights by decision to Jeff Lacy and Markus Beyer in 2004 and 2005 and then fought sporadically. His knockout loss to aging Roy Jones Jr. last year was further damaged his reputation but he has won his last two fights against journeyman. Strohl (27-8, 21 KO) also falls into that category. The Las Vegas resident has lost his last five fights, all against good fighters.
Also fighting: Terrance Cauthen vs. Cleotis Pandarvis, 8 rounds
Rating the card: C. Sheika, once one of the most exciting fighters in boxing, has two consecutive knockouts. You can bet he’ll make it three against Strohl.
ANDRE WARD vs. ALLAN GREEN
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / super middleweights (Super Six)
Location: Oakland, Calif.
The backdrop: Ward (21-0, 13 KOs) is coming off the biggest victory of his young career, a convincing technical decision against highly regarded Mikkel Kessler. Some made Ward the favorite to win the 168-pound tournament after the victory. However, he’ll get no respite against Green (29-1, 20 KOs). The Tulsa, Okla., product took the place of Jermain Taylor in the six-man competition. He has won six consecutive fights since his only loss, a one-sided decision to Edison Miranda in 2007. Green is at a disadvantage in the tournament because he’ll have one fewer fight than the others in the opening round. The fighters advance to the semifinal and final rounds based on points. On the undercard, Holt will try to prove he’s not finished as an elite fighter.
Also fighting: Kendall Holt vs. Jesse Feliciano, 8 rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: A-. Ward is one of the most-exciting and capable young stars in the game, as he proved against Kessler. And Green is no pushover.
RODEL MAYOL vs. OMAR NI├æO
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior flyweights
Location: Queretaro, Mexico
Television: Fox Sports Net / Fox Sports en Esplanol
The backdrop: This is a rematch of a bizarre fight in February, in which Ni├▒o (28-3-2, 11 KOs) hit Mayol (26-4-2, 20 KOs) with a low blow and then knocked him unconscious with a devastating left hook as the referee stepped in. The fight was ruled a technical draw. Mayol is no stranger to truncated fights. He drew and lost to Ivan Calderon previous to Mayol when Calderon was cut as a result of accidental headbutts and the fights went to the scorecards. The Filipino bounced back by taking Edgar Sosa’s 108-pound title in November. Ni├▒o, from Mexico, is a former junior flyweight title holder.
Rating the card: B+. The strange result in the first meeting is an interesting backdrop for the rematch.